Budget 2015: Osborne revels in answering his critics

George Osborne announcing his last Budget before the election. Credit: PA Wire

Rarely will we witness a Chancellor so obviously enjoying a Budget. Give or take the odd statistic, all the economic news was good.

The political summary is that he was engaged in a concerted attempt to shoot his opponents' foxes...

Spending back to the 1930s? No, he said, spending would now be at the level it was in 2000 at the height of the New Labour years. He also appears to be slowing the rate of cuts. He originally promised a surplus of £23 billion by 2019/20, but said today it would only be £7 billion.

Living standards are falling? No, they are now higher than when the Tories came to power five years ago, he said.

The economic plan isn't working? In fact, he said, he would meet his original pledge to have debt falling as a proportion of GDP by the end of this parliament (thus bringing him close to what the plan his predecessor Alistair Darling was predicted to achieve, but that is another matter.)

The party only favours the rich? No, he said, he would increase the bank levy and cap large pension pots. The cash will be used to cut beer duty, fuel duty and to raise the personal allowance and the threshold at which the top tax rate is paid (and to create the 'Help to Buy' ISA).

He doesn't care about Scotland and North Sea Oil? No, he said, he was announcing a package of measures to boost the industry.

And finally...he confirmed he is a true fiscal conservative. Given a very healthy windfall from lower interest rates and the growth in the economy, he chose to spend it on reducing the deficit rather than an enormous giveaway.